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French glamour comes to Alnick

Product round-up

An inspirational project to recreate the 17th century splendour of Versailles in Northumberland has been made possible by specialist materials from Tarmac.

The £15M Alnwick Castle project, which opened earlier this summer, is the vision of the Duchess of Northumberland, who says it will see the castle's derelict 5ha walled garden transformed into 'the most magnificent garden created anywhere in Europe in the last 100 years.'

The central feature is the world's first use of a unique water system that will move 500,000 litres/day around the gardens via a system of 26 weirs and pools. Flanking the pools are 150 computer controlled jets and fountains to give visitors a spectacular water show at regular intervals throughout the day.

One of the key requirements of the project was the need for highly durable, waterproof concrete to avoid seepage where mechanical plant and control equipment was located, and to meet a 100 year design life.

Furthermore, through the use of integral colouring admixtures, the concrete had to replicate a natural sandstone colour, cast using purpose-built formwork and liners, to mimic a natural stonewall effect.

Climatic conditions also dictated a frost resistant surface.

Concrete selected for this specialist application falls into two main categories. For the tanks, Toproc, a high performance microsilica based concrete, was modified to meet the stringent design specifications and supplied in three colours, natural, raven grey and buff (sandstone).

Toptint raven grey, imprinted to give a cobble effect, was used for perimeter edging to the car parking area.

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